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Comparing Florida to California

Updated on July 29, 2017

They are on opposite sides of America. They have different climates. One leads the country with its cutting edge technologies on, the other with its tropical beaches. But, which state is better to live in, Florida or California?

After eons of time living in California, specifically, in the wine country of Sonoma some 70 miles north of San Francisco, I packed it up and moved to Venice, FL., on the Gulf of Mexico, south of Tampa. It was time for a change. Life, itself, is change. The trip across America was horribly boring as soon as I hit central California on Interstate 5 to L.A. But, it got worse as I cut through Bakersfield eastward to Arizona. After enduring 112F heat in Arizona and endless empty terrain of great vastness, New Mexico did not offer any relief. Ditto for Texas. It was not until I hit Oklahoma did the scenery change with rolling hills of oak trees. Louisiana was the first taste of real climate change- humidity and vast amounts of green along the highways. How refreshing that was! Upon reaching Florida, we were greeted with scores of tall pine trees and other green walls along the highway. This is FAR different than the dry, parched, highways of the so called Golden State of California.

Notable differences between the two states resonate in my mind since the move was made. Any person can see why Florida tends to be a spot many gravitate to. I am not anti-California, but looking back, only a few things might make me rethink about the move.

What Florida has that California does not?

  • Humidity
  • Cheaper cost of living (gas, housing, rent)
  • Beaches that can be enjoyed all day and night 24\7
  • Diverse wildlife all around even at beaches
  • Great highways not needing repair
  • Temperatures that range between 60F to 80F in the dead of winter
  • Less crowded in many places
  • Tropical trees and plants that far surpass those in the L.A. and San Diego area
  • Gators
  • No state income tax
  • More toll highways
  • More beautiful places to see
  • More retirement communities
  • Ocean temps between 70-85F all year
  • Mostly flat terrain
  • Hurricanes

What California has that Florida does not?

  • Fog that render beaches useless
  • The Pacific Ocean that stays 50-60F all year making ocean fun unbearable
  • Cooling off at night, low humidity
  • More diverse landscape from mountains, deserts, forests, vineyards,and beach
  • Much higher cost of living for rent, homes, fuel
  • A Mediterranean climate like Italy with sub-tropical in San Diego area
  • Tons of people in most cities
  • State income tax
  • Diverse climates and micro-climates between northern and southern California
  • Trendsetting state with innovation technology
  • More IT related jobs and other jobs in general
  • A huge economy like many countries
  • Many bad roads needing repair
  • More variety of lakes
  • Earthquakes

Of course, all of the traits are subjective. Maybe you love fog and cold ocean. Maybe you long for tropical climates where the beach is available 24\7, no need to worry about the coastal conditions as in CA. While CA offers more variety in landscapes (Lake Tahoe is must see, as is Yosemite), it really depends on where you live in California and what you like. Much of the state is dry from April through November (maybe December) causing fire dangers. Much less so, the same is for Florida. You can drive to the Miami area in 3 hours from Gulf of Mexico. You can be in Key West in 6 hours. Driving to Key West over the ocean is a breathtaking experience, much like seeing Yosemite and Lake Tahoe in California.

Both states offer much but the key two differences that are determining factors are state income taxes (none in FL) to pay and cost of living. It is simply much cheaper to live in Florida (depending on your lifestyle). True, wages are lower in Florida. Food and utility bills are about the same. If you live in the SF bay area, a single bedroom can easily be $2000-3000\mo! Climate is the other major consideration, but this one of personal choice.

So, in the end, only a few things may or may not tip your decision.

Ft. Desoto State Park in St. Pete
Ft. Desoto State Park in St. Pete
Typical scene off Nokomis Beach in Venice
Typical scene off Nokomis Beach in Venice
Amazing wildlife
Amazing wildlife


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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Is that the wrong name? They come in the spring.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 months ago

      Amazing santa ana winds? really?

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      California has those amazing Santa Anna winds part of the year. Don't know of anything similar to that in Florida. But FL has SEC football, which trumps most everything else!

      Interesting topic. Glad you wrote a hub and didn't just ask a question.